By Marcia Rubinstien, M.A., CEP
December 17, 2012
Parenting children with LD, ADHD and related disorders is challenging.
Complex academic, social, emotional, and behavioral issues can tax a family’s ability to grapple with adversity, identify appropriate strategies and accommodations, and coordinate appropriate professional support—to say nothing of getting through the normal day-to-day obstacles that all families face.
Parents who invest time and energy in supporting the complex needs of children with learning disabilities often forget to nurture the most fundamental resource they have:
Since children who learn differently display unique clusters of assets and deficits, it can be difficult to understand the factors that determine a child’s successes, failures, fears, and frustrations.
Nevertheless, parents who find resources that nurture their own actions are in a better position to discover their child’s strengths and advocate effectively for them.
Breaking the Frustration Cycle
A search of what can help your child will ultimately produce a safety net that can guarantee optimal parent response. There are three components to guaranteeing success for your child, which will, in turn, minimize your frustration. Following are guidelines that will help you summon the energy to deal with the issues at hand.
1.) Know your child. Make sure that you have identified the conditions that maximize your child’s learning potential. Confirm that these conditions are consistently upheld. Be sure to monitor and work with those responsible for your child’s well-being.
2.) Build a network of reliable support professionals. Develop a group of people who understand your child’s issues, respect your family dynamics, and support all concerns related to your child’s academic, social, emotional and behavioral well-being. Refine and expand your network as necessary in response to changing developments at school, at home, and in the community.
3.) Don’t forget to breathe. The commonplace directive to secure your own oxygen mask before trying to help others may seem trite, but it has relevance to families of children with LD. It can be frustrating to watch a school system force your multi-shaped and uniquely configured “peg” into a narrowly defined round hole.
Frustration, however, is a negative force that not only depletes parental resources, but can also poison a child’s environment. Be proactive, not reactive. Fill your life with activities that support your own talents, desires, and competence.
The best gift you can give to a child with LD is a parent who models optimism, hope, and triumph over adversity.
The author is an educational consultant and the author of Raising NLD Superstars: What Families with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Need to Know about Nurturing Confident, Competent Kids.